Highland, Ind. Firefighter Dies In ATV Accident

(CBS) – Friends and colleagues are mourning a Highland, Ind. volunteer firefighter killed over the weekend.

Richard Haschke was killed near the fire house, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.

A small flag about 100 yards from the station’s back door marks the spot where Haschke died in an all-terrain vehicle accident. He took the ATV out early Sunday morning with two friends.

“He took the equipment without authorization, without permission, and left the building,” Highland Fire Dept. Chief Bill Timmer says.

Timmer struggles to understand why the 50-year-old Army veteran and one-year department volunteer decided to take the Polaris from its station spot. It was a fatal decision.

Haschke died at the scene. His two friends were injured.

Timmer says all members of the paid on-call department have station passes allowing around-the-clock access. Procedural changes could occur, he says.

Bernadette Rhoades says besides being a veteran, Haschke was also active in Highland. She hopes he’s remembered for that.

“He would have died for anyone. He loved his kid. He loved his family,” she says.

“It’s a hard thing. We’ve never experienced anything like this,” Chief Timmer says.

Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. It is still under investigation.

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